Boat Insurance: What’s Covered?

Boat owners insurance protects you and your family should something unpredictable happen. In many cases your home insurance policy will provide minimal to no coverage for your boat or personal watercraft—refer to your home insurance policy to determine your exact coverage. You may want to look into additional boat insurance options. There are a hefty handful of coverage options to choose from. Here’s the scoop on a few of the most-common:

Watercraft Liability Coverage

  • If you (or anyone you give permission to use your boat) are responsible for damage to another boat and/or another’s boat's passengers, Watercraft Liability coverage has your back. This type of coverage will help to cover costs, including the other boat's repairs/replacements, medical costs, loss of income and funeral expenses.

Uninsured Watercraft Coverage

  • If an uninsured boater (or boater with little insurance) damages your boat, or causes a boat accident that injures you or anyone on your boat, this type of coverage can help. Your insurer will be able to help with medical payments, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by another boat owner, who has minimal to no insurance.

Watercraft Medical Payments Coverage

  • This type of coverage can help you (or anyone you give permission to use your watercraft) pay for medical costs you receive within three years of the accident. This includes hospital bills, surgeries, x-rays, dental, pharmaceuticals, nursing services, funeral services due to an injury from a boating accident.

Property coverage

  • Property coverage pays for damage to your boat if you’re involved in an accident with another boat or something else, such as a pier, buoy, dock or debris, or if someone hits your docked boat. It also typically pays for damage or loss to your boat caused by something other than a collision, such as theft, fire, vandalism, windstorm or hitting an animal.

Additional coverage options

  • Personal Effects Coverage will cover your personal items on your boat, including your belongings like kayaks and fishing equipment.
  • Emergency Services Coverage cover a portion of the towing cost, mechanical labor at the place of breakdown, and delivery of fuel, oil or battery.
  • Additional Boat Equipment Coverage protects boating accessories such as anchors, life jackets and navigation gear, up to policy limits.
  • Boat Trailer Coverage insures damages (up to policy limits) to (or in connection with) your boat trailer.
  • Repair Cost Endorsement Coverage insures your boat, motor, boat equipment or trailer, up to policy limits.

View and download this information in an informative infographic.

Decoding Deductibles, Comprehending Coverage Limits

Boating is fun, but accidents can be stressful. And because you want to protect your favorite toy, along with your family, boating insurance is an important choice.

Decoding Deductibles

  • Much like car insurance, when it comes to boat insurance, there’s a deductible—the amount of money you agree to pay to help repair or replace your boat if you have a claim covered by your policy.

Comprehending Coverage Limits

  • Each coverage that you opt for has a limit, and if you were to have an accident, your insurance provider agrees to pay for damages up to that coverage’s limit.

Basically, you can pay more now and possibly have lower out of pocket expenses should an accident or damage occur, or you can pay less annually and foot a bigger bill come accident or damage time.  It’s a personal choice—sit down and take a look at your finances and where you personally feel the most at ease, and decide from there.

Accidents Happen (Here’s What to Do)

When you’re a boater, there’s not much worse than a boating accident to ruin your day on the water. We've got the specifics on what to do should this worst-case scenario arise.

  • Prepare in advance. While boating, be sure everyone is wearing his or her life jacket. And before you leave the dock, check the first aid kit to be sure it is properly equipped with gauze, bandages, alcohol cleaning pads, etc. While you’re at it, be sure you’re covered with this list of boating safety equipment.
  • Keep calm. Easier said than done, we know. Post accident, first figure out the extent of the injuries or damage. If the accident involved another boat, check with the other boat to see if anyone on board requires medical help.
  • Act fast. If the boat is too damaged to get you back to shore quickly and safely, radio for help. Before you grab your VHF radio or cell phone, know the name of your boat, the exact location (longitude and latitude), how many people are on board, the type of emergency and if anyone is wounded—you’ll want to include this in your call.
  • File a report. Call the police to file an accident report, and remain at the scene of the accident, unless your physical safety is at risk. Try to talk minimally about the accident, and do not admit fault.
  • Gather accident information.
    • Log the date, time
and location.
    • Exchange information with the other boat operator (if there is one). Get their name, phone (home/mobile/work), full address, the boat’s make/model and hull identification number.
    • Collect the insurance information, including insurance company and policy number.
    • Collect names and contact information for any nearby witnesses and try to shoot photos of the incident or damage.
    • Take note of what was lost or damaged.
  • File an insurance claim. Call your insurance provider and notify them of the accident.

When it comes to boating, accidents unfortunately happen, thankfully, you can protect your boat and loved ones with quality boating insurance, and having the knowledge to be sure you’re prepared for the worst—just in case. In the meantime, take this  boating safety quiz to see where you fall on the safety know-how spectrum. 


Content courtesy of AllStateBoatInsurance


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